Last weekend was the Fair Trade Fashion Show put on by Bead & Reel and The Peace Exchange. It was the second annual iteration of the fashion show and it was magnificent. This event gives me so much hope and does so much good to spread the word on fair trade. Here's a little background on the companies behind the show:
The Peace Exchange is an amazing company and initiative that "works with marginalized regions of the world to create social enterprise, economic growth, sustainability, and entrepreneurial trainings for citizens of developing nations." I borrowed that quote from their website as they said it best themselves. Their work is incredibly important and relevant so I highly recommend you peruse their site to learn more.
Bead & Reel is an online boutique highlighting ethical brands from all over the world and their (often vegan) fair trade products. The owner and founder of Bead & Reel, Sica Schmitz (who also curated and styled the show), has put together such a lovely collection of chic pieces for her shop that will steal your heart. You can feel good about everything you buy from Bead & Reel because they research brands for you and only carry pieces that are truly ethical. Plus, everything ships in recyclable packaging!
Now back to the show; every year there's a panel of experts within the fair trade realms who talk about the issues within the fashion industry, their experiences with such, and their own companies, projects, and ideas on how to propel the world forward into a new era of ethical fashion. The panel is aways informative and the stories they shared on their various experiences were moving. The panel is probably my favorite pat of the event. It impresses upon you the impact of the fashion industry as well as the positive impact of fair trade. It's so important to be aware of what we support when we make purchases and educate ourselves (and others) on the painful truth of fast fashion and other harmful practices. I encourage everyone to incorporate fair trade into their zeitgeist and make the conscious effort to make the switch to ethical consumer goods. You'd be amazed at the impact you can have on the world by just making some informed purchases.
The fashion show itself was up after the panel and in combo with the venue, music, and lighting, it was a beautiful experience. Sica curated the looks in the show from women owned ethical companies (girl power!) and used models with real bodies (braless, armpit hair, curves, and all colors and heights). Her approach to hiring the models was absolutely perfect; she didn't want any of the models to compromise their beliefs, comfort level, or personal grooming habits for the show. Everyone was encouraged to be themselves, perfect and beautiful exactly they way they are and I couldn't agree more! All women are beautiful and no one should be made to wax or reveal parts of their body that make them uncomfortable (or interfere with their beliefs) or wear a bra. You could tell that the models were happy and grateful for the freedom and support because they all wore confidence like a slinky dress as they walked the runway.
I hope you can make it to the show next year. The people and companies involved are truly amazing; the experience is unique and the education life changing. Support Bead & Reel and The Peace Exchange on their journeys to better the fashion industry and shop their lovely ethical products.